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Shabbat Parashat Nitzavim 5781

Parashat Hashavua: Two Creations

Harav Shaul Yisraeli from Aroch Siach, p. 8-9

The world was created twice – one that was preceded by a state of pre-creation, and another time after the world was already created. The first creation happened in the first month and the second one was in the seventh month. The first one was done based on chesed (kindness), the second one based on din (strict law). The first one was created by Hashem on His own; in the second, he included man as a partner. The second creation was the greater one. “This is the day of the beginning of Your actions.”

“The world shall be built with chesed (kindness)” (Tehillim 89:3). There is no ability for man or the whole world to survive without Hashem’s kindness. The word of Hashem, Who is in the Heavens but influences every living thing, all depends on chesed. However, there are two forms of chesed – a chesed that is connected to din and a chesed that is connected to rachamim (mercy). The chesed of din is greater than the chesed of rachamim. The latter does not elevate the recipient of the chesed. He remains a recipient, and the part of one who only receives is lowly. It is a tragedy for a person to have to “hold out his hand” to receive. Therefore, the kindness of this type of chesed is incomplete, as the recipient pays by being branded a recipient.

Chesed that is related to din comes to change a person from a recipient to a giver, from one who is influenced to one who influences, and from a creation to a creator. It is there to make a person a master over himself and for the whole world, to give man full autonomy and the ability to define himself.

Din is a matter of reality. When one gets something from Hashem based on din (i.e., deserving it), he becomes elevated to the point of being a creator. His actions are able to “fix worlds” or destroy worlds. Man’s actions take on special importance. “If he performed a mitzva, he moved himself and the whole world over to the side of merit” (Kiddushin 40b), and the same is true in the negative. “If the righteous wanted to, they could create a world” (Sanhedrin 65b). A person becomes free to act and responsible for his actions’ repercussions. All of creation becomes dependent on man. This chesed of din is more elusive and therefore more elevated. “Hashem was elevated with justice” (Yeshayahu 5:16).

“Say before me malchuyot so that you will make me King over you” (Rosh Hashana 34b). To the extent we can say this, Hashem’s kingdom depends on our words, for without our involvement, His Kingdom is incomplete. The foundation of chesed in the world does not shine as it could. When we do not act properly, we limit the Divine Presence in the world. The world is then not able to succeed based on din and becomes more dependent on rachamim, making man increasingly a recipient. He does not build and destroy worlds, and he loses his role in creation. Even during his life, he is considered like the dead (Devarim Rabba, V’zot Haberacha). He stops being a master of his own life and certainly for others, but he becomes like a slave. Only when we are connected to din can we invigorate the world with our actions, show the divine chesed, and give Hashem the most complete Kingdom we can.  

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